Posted on

1st Racecar Challenge at Pierce – The American College of Greece

1st Racecar Challenge, autonomous racecar competition for Gymnasium students based on a course created by the Beaver Works Summer Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On Saturday June 18, 2022, the first Greek national competition Racecar Challenge based on the autonomous racecar course “miniRacecar” designed by the Beaver Works Summer Institute at MIT took place in Athens and in a hybrid format.

The introduction of miniRacecar is the result of the collaboration between the Beaver Works Summer Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Greek non-profit organization Mathisi Initiative, and the competition was co-organized and hosted by Pierce – The American College of Greece, with the support of Junior Achievement Greece.

Through this overall and unique collaboration, Beaver Works’ autonomous racecar course “miniRacecar” was introduced virtually and offered at no cost to Greek schools this past school year. All the students who complete the course receive a certificate of completion from BWSI. The competition gave students who attended the course the opportunity to demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in robotics and coding.

The course miniRacecar is a high-quality robotics and programming course designed by the Beaver Work Summer Institute at MIT for school-age students. It can be fully completed either by assembling the physical car if available, or through BWSI’s miniRACECAR simulator at no cost. The course’s objective is to help students develop their knowledge and skills in programming, robotics and technology, linking theory to practice, while promoting the development of “soft skills” considered necessary for the 21st century, such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and teamwork. The course is taught in English and requires the guidance of a teacher.

A total of 86 students from 12 schools from all over Greece attended the course, while 25 of them completed the course in time to participate in this year’s competition. On Saturday, the participants competed in time trials and a Grand Prix final round with the code they submitted. The winning team, the “Debuggers”, from Pierce – The American College of Greece, will have the chance to virtually attend the last week of BWSI’s summer camp and represent Greece at BWSI’s final competition on August 7, 2022. It is the first time that a Greek team will participate in BWSI’s final competition. Prizes were also awarded to the teams which came in second position, the “Racedrifters” from the 8th Gymnasio in Halandri, and third position “Qubit”, also from Pierce.

“2nd “Racedrifters”, 8th Gymnasio Chalandri”

The Beaver Works Summer Institute at the Lincoln Lab at MIT is a place where ideas are encouraged and brought to life. It was started in 2016 in response to a challenge – to fill a gap and create a program that uses the MIT mindset to collaborate, to work together and bring college level curriculum in computer science and AI technologies to high school students. miniRacecar is one of the many courses created and offered by Beaver Works.

The course and competition will also be offered to students in Greece in the next academic year, with registrations opening on September 19 and closing on October 26, 2022 and the competition will be held at Pierce on April 29th, 2023.

Any interested team of 2 to 4 students attending Gymnasio and 1st Lykeiou (with a prior knowledge of the Python language for the younger ones) are eligible to participate, as long as they are supported and registered by a school teacher or an educator from a non -profit educational organization. All information relating to next year’s course registration and competition will be posted on the respective sites of Mathisi at www.mathisi.org and of Pierce at https://www.pierce.gr/pierce-mathisi-panellinios-diagwnismos-racecar-challenge by July 15, 2022.